As the weather gets increasingly chillier, at least from where I am, many of us are opting to stay inside and curl up with a good video game, book, or show. While the end of 2021 isn’t quite here yet, here are some of what I’m hoping to have finished before the year is out.
Neo: The World Ends With You
I’ve been making steady progress with Neo: The World Ends With You since the last time I wrote about it. I recently hit the story’s ultimate climax and have now started week three of Rindo and his friends’ journey toward surviving and getting out of the Reapers’ Game. Just like the first The World Ends With You, Neo is broken up into chapters that see the Wicked Twisters forced into playing the game for three whole weeks. Now that I’m playing through the third week I’m closer to Neo’s endgame.
There have been plenty of thrilling battles, as well as frustrating ones, and twists I unfortunately saw coming from a mile way. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying my time with the sequel. There are still plenty of questions left unanswered like how many of the original characters from the first game will be making an appearance in Neo? Or what are the motivations behind some of the actions the Reapers in this game take? I’m certainly excited to find out very soon!
While I typically like to focus on one game at a time, especially lengthier and story heavy games like Neo: The World Ends With You, this year I found myself balancing two different games at the same time lately. Aside from Neo I’ve also been spending the other half of my gaming time with 2019’s critically acclaimed Control by developer Remedy Entertainment.
The story of Jesse Faden who enters the Oldest House, headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), to seek information on the whereabouts of her kidnapped brother Dylan throws the player headlong into the mystery and paranormal goings on of the FBC.
Initially I wasn’t looking to play Control. When it first came out and got rave reviews from video game critics, the one thing that turned me off from potentially playing it was the difficulty level. At the time of its release many people have said the difficulty in this game was incredibly hard and unforgiving. For me personally, I want to play a game I’ll be able to finish and not be overly frustrated with it because I’m stuck. When I received Control as a gift from my older sister that put me in a position of now trying to figure out how and when I was going to subject myself to a miserable experience of wanting to enjoy the story but the gameplay is ridiculously hard to get through. Thankfully, my fears were assuaged when I read that the developers not too long ago released an easier mode for those who wanted to experience the story without the aggravation of playing.
Equipped with the ease of getting through each section of Control without wanting to rage quit, I have become addicted to the story and upgrading Jesse’s supernatural powers as she proceeds throughout the different parts of the Old House. The whole game is really well written and I have been spending a lot of my time hunting for every collectible and interactive media I can find. These are worth finding to better understand the strange and creepy stuff happening at the FBC and to the people who got possessed by the Hiss.
This is one game where I’m not sure how the story will go and how it will end but I’m eager to see how all the pieces come together.
Anne of Green Gables
Ever since setting my Goodreads goal of reading 20 books, regular or graphic novels, before the end of the year, I have not only completed my goal but now I’m adding a few bonus books into the mix. The latest book I’m currently trying to read is Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
Anne of Green Gables is one of those classic children’s books that have always been highly regarded as one of the best in children’s literature but one of many I never read as a kid. One of my personal goals is to read some of these missed classics, so I can not only say that I’ve read it but I have come to understand why books like Anne of Green Gables has been so beloved by many around the world.
I’m about a few chapters into the book and still having a hard time deciding how I feel about Anne of Green Gables. The story about orphan Anne Shirley who is mistakenly sent to live with unmarried siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert already has an interesting setup but has yet to win me over as a book I absolutely can’t put down. But like other books I have read in the past, some stories take time to warm up before you find that “wow” factor most readers look for when they’re reading a good book. I sincerely hope I’ll find it in the later chapters.
The South Korean TV show that has taken Netflix by storm worldwide, Squid Game is about people who find themselves in financially strapped situations and are offered an opportunity to participate in a deadly competition for a chance to win lots of money. When the show came out it had been pegged as a cross between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale.
I’m a little late in watching Squid Game, especially with the amount of memes, references, and Halloween costumes that came out of the show, but I can see why many people got hooked. The show follows many different characters and you get to understand why they decided to risk their lives for the money promised if they win. Their own personal reasons are very human and relatable, making it difficult to really judge or criticize some of them too harshly.
The show is violent and does have plenty to say about how we treat and exploit people who find themselves struggling and barely surviving. I’ve only watched three episodes so far at the time of this writing, but Squid Game does remind me a little of the movie Parasite which also takes a look at South Korea’s working class and poor.
Maybe Squid Game is not exactly lighthearted and feel good entertainment, but it works well for our increasingly dystopian reality we all seem to be living in these days.
What have you been playing, reading, and watching lately?